RIYADH: Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world.
Few have been privileged to visit Hegra, hewn from the rocks of the Hijaz in northwestern Saudi Arabia two millennia ago and lost for centuries.
Now, in a stunning digital interactive exploration ‘The Rebirth of AlUla’, the Arab News is unveiling the spectacular rock-cut tombs of Hegra, and highlights efforts to transform the wider AlUla region into one of the world’s greatest cultural tourism destinations.
In 2020, the archaeological sites of Hegra will be reopened to the public, which had its first glimpse in many years through the 2018 Winter at Tantora festival. The celebration of art, music and heritage will draw the world once again to AlUla from Dec. 19 to March 7. Over 12 weekends of festivities, visitors will be treated to an eclectic mix of performers, including the Gipsy Kings, Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias, Craig David and Jamiroquai.
Saudi Arabia’s move to open up Hegra and the AlUla Valley restores a missing chapter in the history of the region and the entire world.
Ahead of the grand ceremony, the Arab News interactive ‘The Rebirth of AlUla’ - arabnews.com/alula – dives deep into its history, blending compelling storytelling and journalism, with stunning video footage, beautiful photography, animated graphics and rare footage and interviews.
Mada’in Salih was the post- Islamic name for Hegra, a lost city in the AlUla Valley. Like its famous twin Petra in Jordan, Hegra was built by the Nabataeans, who from about the fourth century BC to 106 AD controlled the profitable trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from east to west and north to south.
AlUla is full of archaeological treasures from the Dadanite, Nabataean, Roman and Islamic civilizations, nestled among beautiful desert landscapes.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, under its Secretary-General Prince Sultan bin Salman, nominated Hegra for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. The application was accepted, and Hegra became the first World Heritage property to be inscribed in the Kingdom.
‘The Rebirth of AlUla’ also throws light on the work of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), established in 2017, is working in partnership with the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), on “the transformation of the AlUla region into a worldwide cultural and touristic destination.”